Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How to be more helpful! Post I

Fair warning, I'm in a mood today.  Probably a little more bold than normal... just go with it!

I'm thinking about infertility today.  When I think about it, I can feel the pain in my heart.  It's always there, but I'm just more aware of it on some days.  There has been so much healing in my heart; but I'll carry this scar until Jesus returns.  I have several friends walking through it today.  Infertility, I mean.  It changes over time, you know, just like any major walk on a road of patience (long suffering).  I felt very different about it all 5 years ago.  And just like the 35 year-old waiting to be married, I never thought it would go on this long. Everyone experiences it differently.  Like, I tend to surprise people with how open I am about it.  I guess, it's my personality.  I'm such an extrovert who wears my heart on my sleeve; I'm not sure I could even have the where-with-all to hide anything for very long.

However, being so open about my ordeal definitely opens me up to A LOT of... Stuff!  Opinions, prophetic words, completely Stupid comments (or nicely, we can call them Ignoramus comments), prayer times with people I don't know, people who think they know what I'm feeling, etc. I've learned to just smile and endure.  And I've learned that people really mean well.  I try to see their hearts underneath.  Yet, I completely understand when people going through this want to keep it to themselves.  On the brighter note, being open about it has also opened us up to A LOT of Love.  Desperately needed prayer, encouragement, and people who really do know... I call those people "Christ in the flesh."

It's here, I'll list a few things that I've found helpful or not at all helpful!  The not-at-all helpful category... these are the comments that make a woman silently go off on you in her head and then later share the comment only with other women who struggle with infertility so they can laugh about it!  And every so often you here a whopper that you can't even believe someone would think, much less say out loud!  So, if you are an offender of one of these comments, well... know I or whoever you said it to probably loves you!  And... learn from this!

For the purposes of this discussion, I will define a woman who is struggling with infertility as:
1. any woman who has been trying to get pregnant for longer than 6 months
2. any woman who has ever had a miscarriage (even if it was at only 4 weeks!)
3. any woman who has ever lost a baby past 20 weeks; there's a special place in my heart for you.
4. any woman who has undergone IVF
4  and especially any woman who has had more than one miscarriage, or has done more than one fertility treatment, or has done many treatments and never had a baby!  You get special props here!  I hope to make you laugh a little!

The NOT-SO-HELPFUL Comments:

  • #1  "Can I be your surrogate?"  Seriously, I've had 2 offers!
  • #2  "Have you thought about adopting?  There are babies all over the world who need mommies and daddies right now!"  Seriously, people?!  My comment to that is... Have you thought about adopting? And I'm an adoptive mom!  Don't say that to anyone walking through infertility.  But do ask other people in your community.  Adoption is an EVERYONE issue... not just the infertile!  It truly reveals the truth about how people feel about adopted children... like they are second best or something.  It's rude on several levels.  And it is not helpful to her heart or journey at all!  
  • #3  "As soon as you stop TRYING, you'll get pregnant!  Just relax!"  Guess what!?  We relaxed and it did NOT happen!
  • #4 "OMG! Everyone is getting pregnant right now!" or  "OMG!  So-and-so is pregnant... AGAIN!  Can you believe it?"  Ok, so maybe part of that one is specific to my church (seriously, so many people got preggers at the same time... and then again... and then again!  We want to be excited for so-and-so... we really do.)
  • #5  "Now that you've adopted, you'll get pregnant!  My mom's friend's sister... that happened to her!  It happens to EVERYONE who adopts!"  I shouldn't get started on how wrong this is to say.  But... I think I will.  First, it's just wrong...incorrect information! Seriously, statistically it doesn't happen that often.  And it completely puts down the adoption experience... like they only want the adopted child so that they can get pregnant with their real child.  That's so not how adoptive parents feel, infertile or not.
  • #6  "Are you sure you're ovulating/ having regular cycles/ etc.?"  I assure you, women dealing with this know FAR MORE than most will ever know about ovulation, her cycle and how this whole "make a baby" thing works!  
  • #7 "Have you tried accupuncture, herbs, chiropractic... anything holistic really?"  Ok, yes, she's tried all of the above!  And she could teach you a thing a two!
  • #8  "It will happen!  I just know you're going to have a baby!"  At first, this made me feel better.  But 2 years later, it just more revealed that people don't know what to do with pain.  Or that God might not "come through" in the way we think He will.  This woman is sitting in the reality of the mystery.  It's okay to let her sit there.  
  • #9 "God just might not want you to have a baby.  He has other plans for you.  He works in mysterious ways.  Just surrender to His plan."  Please don't attribute anything to God.  This woman is questioning Him enough as it is.  Don't make Him out to be the bad guy!
  • And #10!  This one is a whopper I recently heard that was said to an adoptive parent:  "If your house were on fire, would you get your adopted child or your real child out of the house first?"  NO!!!!!!  OMGoodness, NO!  I told Felipe about this and he actually said he would slap a person if they said that to him.  I've never heard him say anything like that before.  

I hope you enjoy my list.  I warned you... I'm in a mood ;)

This got a little long, so I'll include the "Helpful" list later.  If you want some more things to laugh about b/c you relate to this... check this out:  Infertility Urban Legends!  I read her blog occasionally.  Only occasionally though, because I don't like to read anything that labels me as "infertile" very much.  It's just not a label I wear.  I hope you don't either.  It's just not what God says about me.  :)